About us

Safety by design

Safety Design Consulting provides aviation safety services designed to evolve your safety culture to the next level. Katherine Hilst, founder and CEO of Safety Design Consulting, brings 27 years of aviation experience in various sectors of the aviation field and a deep understanding of the aviation world from many perspectives. Her current focus on aviation risk management, safety training, and safety audits is informed by her broad work experience in aviation. She is a commercial pilot, helicopter and fixed wing, as well as a rotorcraft flight instructor and instrument instructor, with over 3200 hours of flight time. She flew helicopters commercially in the Los Angeles area and in Alaska. In addition to her flying, she was the first safety manager in the mid-90's for one of the largest helicopter operators in Alaska. She has continued working in safety for over 25 years, including safety management consulting as well as teaching human factors and CRM to numerous aviation companies and groups. She co-founded and co-owned NorthStar Helicopters / NorthStar Trekking in Juneau, Alaska, a successful trekking and heli-skiing company. Katherine is an accredited IS-BAO auditor in all areas, as well as an auditor for the Helicopter Association International's Accredited Program of Safety (HAI-APS).  

working with your company to develop and implement safety systems for safer operations.

During her flying career she attended the University of Washington School of Law. After obtaining her law degree, she worked for the Alaska Supreme Court before joining the Product Liability group at Perkins Coie in Seattle, Washington, where she worked exclusively on domestic and international helicopter and air crash litigation. She also worked as general counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Transport Airplane Directorate, doing regulatory and enforcement work.  Later in private practice she focused on aviation risk management and safety issues.

Katherine's focus is on the prevention side of the safety equation.  She brings her skills and expertise to help companies work towards the highest safety standards.  In addition to her aviation safety consulting work, Katherine stays active teaching aviation courses in the aviation program at the Central Oregon Community College.